Friday, September 27, 2013

Sunday Fun - A Day by the Bay at Floyd Bennett Field

Happy Aloha Friday! Still scrambling to finish everything I need to finish this month but I did want to just toss up a quick post here about a couple of cool things that are going on on Sunday, September 29th.

First one - there's a big family fun day happening from noon to 4 p.m. at Floyd Bennett Field. Sounds great - hiking, biking, paddling, birds of prey, cool old planes, music, storytelling, and oh btw, Sunday's forecast is absolutely LOVELY, sunny and 73 with a nice breeze, should be a splendid day to collect some friends and family and  spend a day outside. Click here for details!

And maybe see you there, I was actually going to go to Race #2 of the Sebago fall series but our vice-commodore is trying to round up a squad of vols for the kayaking and this seems like really a nice thing for the club to be involved in, so I think I might do that instead. If you do go and you see a bunch of little sailboats out there going back and forth on the water - that's Sebago Sailing! :D 

Can't resist sharing this spectacular shot by sailing co-chair and fantastic artist Holly Sears now - she was our Principal Race Officer for the Sebago Cup and she took her camera - this was my favorite shot of a very beautiful day.

Oh, and click here to read about another unusual thing that's going on on Sunday!  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Oh my...

I have SO much work to do today but boy, I'm going to have to at least try to sneak some peeks!!!

(tagged boating safety - ha ha ha!)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Petition - a quick plug!

Just wanted to put up a quick plug for a petition a neighbor has been sharing - at the moment I type this it's at 1,889 signatures and it would be lovely to see it break 2,000.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know that I make regular visits to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, especially in the spring to see the daffodils and the cherry trees, and also in the snow -- it's really one of my favorite NYC places to be on land. However, these days it seems like the board has lost track of something. I always thought that one of the things that makes a botanic garden a botanic garden instead of just a plain old garden garden is that there's generally some sort of SCIENCE going on there -- you may not always see it, it can be behind the scenes, but it's there and it's a big part of the garden's reason for being.

However, the board of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden has decided that that doesn't really need to happen anymore - they've cut down the science staff and closed down their research center. Meanwhile, they had the money to open a "shiny new visitor's center" (quoting the Daily News article I link to below). Speaking as a visitor, I didn't need a shiny new center, I think it would have been better for them to spend the money on the science, even if I never ever set foot in the research facility.

Flatbush neighbor Chris Kreussling, who blogs and Facebooks as the Flatbush Gardener (he's always running neat things in the area like daffodil bulb plantings and stuff that I always want to go to but never make it to) and has been a long time supporter of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden was the one from whom I first heard about this, he's appalled by the departure from the organization's mission statement, and he's been running this petition for a while now. I've plugged on Facebook, now I'm linking to it here. Click here to sign! Oh, it's at 1,891 now, 2 new signatures as I typed this - 2,000 here we come (and let's not stop there). Thanks!

Good article about the situation here:

Monday, September 23, 2013


Broke in my garlic-smoosher this weekend! This is a simple little device I got at the Ithaca Farmer's Market (a really neat place) when I went to help out with the Tompkins County Hospice Women Swimmin' fundraising event (I'll link to a nice article about that at the end). I saw these and I was interested, except that they were a little bit expensive, but the woodworker who was selling them had a second that he sold me for half-price - I finally found the tiny crack he'd pointed to while I was using it today, he'd pointed it out but I hadn't actually seen it before. I used to use the handle of a fairly stout knife but I was always a little afraid of breaking it. Don't have to worry about that any more this worked great - I got lots of use out of it this weekend and aside from the concern about breaking a favorite knife (and oh yeah, the possibility of needing stitches after such a break), I think it's easier to use. See, all smooshed, and then the skins flick right off.   

First garlic-centric dish of the weekend was chicken adobo. This is a delicious Filipino dish, chicken marinated in then stewed in a sauce of shoyu, water, vinegar, a little brown sugar, peppercorns (I didn't have so I threw in some chipotle pepper instead, always have some of those in the cupboard), a couple of bay leaves (I forgot those) and then six to eight cloves of garlic. I went for nine (a couple were small).

I love chicken adobo but I've never made it before, there's a great Filipino restaurant in my neighborhood and usually when I have an adobo craving, I go let the chef there make it for me. But my latest Internet distraction is a Facebook page called "You Know You From Hawaii When..", it's this wonderful hangout, mostly homesick people on the Mainland like me but a few Hawaii residents too, making the rest of us jealous -- plenny good fun! Anyways, the other day, "Brah Booze", one of the regulars, posted this cartoon: 
 And I got into the conversation talking about how my favorite thing about church potlucks at Aiea United Methodist (my childhood church) was trying all the different kinds of chicken people would bring - you would have five or six different kinds of teriyaki and then a couple of adobos, all homemade and all "onolicious"!

That conversation was still going on yesterday morning. I'd been thinking about going paddling but I'd had a very long week, I wasn't feeling very ambitious, and I was having dinner with TQ at 6 (a little bit of a tight deadline to have to keep in mind while paddling - if we'd been meeting at 7 or 8 that would've been fine but he starts work very early so really needs to be turning in by 9:30 or so). In the middle of my hemming and hawing, I checked in on the potluck thread and it suddenly hit me that we were having a potluck at Sebago the next day. Great idea - instead of going paddling and feeling rushed, I could stay home and have a nice relaxing afternoon cooking one of my old island favorites - plenty of times I've turned up with cheese or fruit 'cause I just didn't have time but this time I did have time - nice! You see, Sebago potlucks don't quite fit into the Mainland pigeonhole above - we have some very good cooks at the club and a potluck usually involves a spectacular spread - nobody ever turns their nose up at nice cheese but it's still not as nice as making something. I was psyched I'd remembered the potluck when I still had enough time to shop and cook (even enough to marinate)!

I'd made teriyaki chicken for club potlucks before but this time I got a whim to try adobo. I googled "chicken adobo" and one of the first recipes that popped up was called "My Quick and Easy Chicken Adobo" on a blog called The Ivory Hut (Ivory What? Ivory Hut!). Sounded like just what I was looking for, and I loved her story about how she was frustrated for a long time because her younger brother made better adobo than she did, and then finally I was reassured by her promise that the best thing to do to make a good chicken adobo is just leave it alone!

So I ran to the store for chicken and I came back and I mixed up my shoyu-water-vinegar-brown-sugar and then I smooshed nine garlic cloves and threw in the aforementioned chipotle (but forgot the bay leaves, darn, next time!) and then I let it marinate for an hour and then I started cooking. 

Here it is cooking in the pot, starting to look yummy:

Here it was this morning in the aluminum pan I switched it to to take it to the club. The drumsticks were really big so I pulled some meat off of each one to make the dish more shareable. If I'd wanted to really do this right I would have made rice for people to spoon the sauce over - that was just too complicated, so I just drained the excess sauce and reserved it for use over my own rice, starting with some for breakfast this morning (YUM). 

And here was the verdict. I think they liked it.
And then tonight I continued with my garlic-smooshing mania. Fall officially started at 4:44 - we were in the middle of revisions to the club constitution but here is my first photo of the fall - see the gold sneaking into those leaves?
We had some very fall-ish weather in the final days of Summer, and the garden is beginning to wind down, so I'd decided that after the annual meeting I was going to pick most of my basil - time for Pestopalooza! Every year around this time I pick pretty much all of the basil that's left and make one giant batch of pesto to freeze for the winter. I didn't quite raze it this time, we've also been having some summery days so I thought I would leave some growing, but I took the bulk of it. I had a nice crop this year! 

The garden actually surprised me with a few more goodies too, even though I'd pretty much completely neglected it for the entire month of September. I knew I had beets, but there were more than I'd realized; I'd been starting to think about what to do with the green tomatoes but a lot of them solved that problem (if you call having to figure out what to do with green tomatoes a problem) by turning into red tomatoes - and then as the cucumber leaves are shrivelling up, all the sudden I'm spotting all the cukes I'd missed. 

Main focus of the evening though...big bag o' basil --

which became a brimming bowl of basil -

I didn't count how many cloves went under the crusher tonight but it was pretty much a head and a half - 
then I ran things through the mini-chopper for a while, then I realized that I didn't have any pine nuts, but one nice thing about living in Brooklyn is that no pine nuts at 8:30 at night is a fixable problem - the store I'd hoped would have them in Newkirk Plaza was out but the Flatbush Food Coop stays open pretty late and they always have that stuff -- that's an expensive way to do it but I really wanted to wrap up the project tonight as it's going to be another very long week at work. 

Hey presto, it's pesto!

And since I decided to go to the coop anyways, I also splurged on some fancy organic ravioli - they have a butternut squash variety that I really like and I figured that I should try some of my pesto while it was still ultra-fresh. Not bad at all!
And if there were any vampires around at the beginning of the weekend, they should be very, very gone now.

Happy Fall! 

And as promised above, here's that Women Swimmin' article in - that was a fun day. I'm still sorry I lost my camera - the camera was replaceable but I wish wish wish I could have gotten the pictures out of it!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Feast of San Gennaro 2013

Feast of San Gennaro 2013, a set on Flickr.
Unwinding from a very very very very very long week with a picturetaking visit to Little Italy and the Feast of San Gennaro.

Fish on Friday (doodle-y doo...)

  I just can't worry about what the fox says until I have figured out what color the parrotfish is. Tonight I got a whim to try to draw a couple of fish I took a picture of in Hanauma Bay, last time I was home. I think that a very beautiful knitted rainbow fish I saw on Facebook may have been behind it (click here to see if you're on Facebook). It was a little too late to paint when I got home but I busted out the colored pencils, a parrotfish really is a lot of colors!

  Oh, and for any friends who haven't spent the bulk of September in their cubicle and so missed the latest craze - seems Norwegian foxes say some whacky stuffs.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sebago Cup, 9/14/2013 - photo gallery!

September continues to rattle along too fast, but I did find time to sort through my Sebago Cup photos and post a gallery. What an excellent day that was! Click on the picture to go to the album.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I raced yesterday. How did I do?

OK, some people have high expectations, but for me, that's pretty darned good. And what a lovely day we had for the 2013 running of the Sebago Cup, or as Sailing World called it in an article we LOVED -- "Jamaica Bay's Jewel".
More photos and a bit more of a writeup to come, I'm trying to catch up with a little housework today but just can't resist a bit of a teaser, what a fun fun day it was - none of last year's agony. Remember last year's agony? Here's a refresher - it went something like this:

If that race had had a theme song, it would've been "And The Beat Goes On". And on, and on, and on, and onandonandon and AIIIIIEEEEEEE PLEASE MAKE IT STOP ENOUGH BEATING ENOUGH!!!

This year - ah, so much better!


Friday, September 13, 2013

CIBBOWS Aquarium Er Make That Manhattan Beach Triple Dip - Saturday, 9/7/2013

Well, phew, very long week at work and I'd said something about putting up a post from last week's CIBBOWS race - so here's a quick writeup and some of the pictures before I turn in.

TQ and I both turned up for this one, and I'm glad we did, because it was a tough one and they needed all the kayakers they had. The day's event was CIBBOWS's annual Triple Dip - a race with distances of one mile, five kilometers, and ten kilometers all going on at the same time. Usually this swim is held with the start and finish in front of the Aquarium, but as you might be able to tell from the next picture (at least if you're familiar with Coney Island), there was a change of plans. 
Turned out that the Parks Department was doing beach replenishment at the normal location that day, and so the swim's start and finish line was moved east to Manhattan Beach. Here's another shot that shows the location well for people who know the area - these are one-mile swimmers rounding their mark halfway through their swim, and you can see the pyramid roof-topper at Kingsborough College just peeking over the buoy. 
It was an absolutely gorgeous day to be on the water - but grueling for those in the water. Moving the course east meant moving it further into the inlet leading into Jamaica Bay, and that meant that the currents were stronger than in the usual location. Stronger currents plus a fairly good breeze meant quite a bit of chop, and on top of that the water is cooling down.

The stronger of the swimmers did fine, but I've never seen a swim where so many people just ran out of steam and had to be pulled. Since I was at the mile marker I'd been asked to keep an eye on the line of kayakers (our instructions were that the swimmers were supposed to be able to stay on course by keeping the kayaks on their right as they swam) but mostly when I asked people to move back into the line, they were off the course because one of the "angels" (the skilled swimmers who swim with people who are looking like they are having a hard time) had called them over to help. Some swimmers were just tired, some were hypothermic.

Fortunately between Zodiac Agent Orange and the NYPD launch and zodiac, we were able to get people out of the water as they needed it without delay. We were all kept busy though. And I've now seen the clawed fingers that I'd been told are a sign that a swimmer is hypothermic and needs to come out for myself. Very distinctive. The thermal blanket I always carry came in handy too - I had a swimmer who'd made it as far as the west end of Manhattan Beach and decided to just get out and walk back, he was shivering pretty badly so I was going to loan him my jacket (which I also had on board), but then when I opened the hatch the first thing I saw was my blanket (a nice one, but cheaper to replace than a jacket) so I gave that to him. I did get it back at the end and there was at least one other swimmer who was very happy I'd brought it. Just one of those small pieces of gear that you can throw in your boat and forget about until all the sudden you're really glad you have it!

As the shorter swims finished and the remaining swimmers became concentrated to the east of the half-mile marker buoy, things got a little less tense - with the same number of kayakers working a much shorter course, we were able to move around a bit more - kayakers would attach themselves to a swimmer or a group of swimmers and travel along with them. Here's Teddy from the Long Island City Community Boathouse escorting one of the 10K swimmers.

Here's a seagull. He was posing.

Duck's eye view and my last shot of the day. The police launch behind her was getting ready to head for home. We were all off the water (or out of the water) before too much longer. A tough day but I think in the end everyone was OK - and anyone who finished got extra double bragging rights. Hopefully next year it'll be back to the Aquarium! 

And another terrific CIBBOWS design - they always have fun t-shirts and other schwag but I particularly loved how the 2 designs this year were a matched pair!  

Triple Dip results here, and click here for a Flickr set with a few more pictures!